Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context

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In recent years, the popularity and availability of Japanese films in the West—including but not limited to those belonging to the animation and horror genres—have resulted in new, more diverse audiences for some of the most critically acclaimed and thoroughly entertaining films ever made. Reading a Japanese Film, written by a pioneer of Japanese film studies in the United States, provides many of these viewers with the necessary tools to construct a deeper understanding of Japanese cinema. In her introduction, Keiko McDonald presents a historical overview for those with little or no knowledge of Japanese cinema and outlines a unified approach to film analysis. Sixteen "readings" of films currently available on DVD with English subtitles put theory into practice as she considers a wide range of work, from familiar classics by Yasujiro Ozu (Floating Weeds), Kenji Mizoguchi (Sisters of Gion), and Akira Kurosawa (Drunken Angel), to the films of a younger generation of directors, including Hirokazu Koreeda’s Maboroshi, Yoshimitsu Morita’s The Family Game, Takeshi Kitano’s Kids Return, and Naomi Kawase’s Suzaku. Specific genres are also represented. Shiro Toyoda’s melodramatic The Mistress adapts a work of Japanese literature. Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba is a horror film with socio-political overtones. My Neighbor Totoro is a beloved anime by Oscar-winner Hayao Miyazaki. The Japanese commitment to period film is examined via Hiroshi Inagaki’s classic Musashi trilogy. Suitably analytic yet thoroughly accessible, this work will become a staple of Asian film studies courses and enrich any cinema lover’s appreciation of Japanese film.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; annotated edition edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082482993X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824829933
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

Five Stars

 on November 2, 2014
By potzo
Get more out of your Japanese film viewing.

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